dharma mittra yoga

  • Strike A Pose: Headstand with Sri Dharma Mittra

    "In yoga, Asana can help put you on the road to enlightenment.” ~Sri Dharma Mittra

    headstand Sri Dharma Mittra striking a variation of Headstand...

    Headstand - the "King of all Asana" - can be a fiddly pose to conquer, especially when dealing with head, neck, and/or shoulder injuries. If that’s the case, we have some cool tricks for you to put into practice.

    Below, find Headstand (Sirsanasa) alternatives and substitutes brought to you by Sri Dharma Mittra, dwelling in New York City at the Dharma Yoga Center.

    Alternative Posture for Headstand

    In this free online yoga video, Sri Dharma Mittra will offer an asana tutorial on an alternative posture for Headstand. For those of you who cannot do Headstand (Raja Sirsasana) for any reason, it is recommended that you learn how to balance on the forearms (Charging Scorpion Pose or Vrschikasana). Forearm Balance allows you to gain the majority of the benefits of Headstand without placing any pressure on the neck or shoulders. This allows the head and neck to really hang loose and relax. Once you have mastered this pose, you will soon be able to practice many of its variations as well.

    "No excuses! When you hurt your neck you still can put your body upside down." ~Sri Dharma Mittra

    forearm balance

    The next asana tutorial is especially beneficial for beginner yogis and for those unable to do regular Headstand.

    Headstand Substitute

    In this free online yoga video, you will discover ways to experience the benefits of Headstand through two extremely simple, modified Headstand variations without ever doing the full expression of the pose. Even in these very basic variations, you will soak up numerous benefits, including relaxation, promotion of thicker hair growth, elevated mental abilities, and increased circulation. Plus, this is an awesome way to begin a relationship with Headstand in preparation for the real deal.

    free online yoga videos

    Drop the excuses and take it upside down.

    ~Tess

  • To Yoga or Not to Yoga?

    I awoke yesterday feeling not so groovy. Sniffles. Sneezes. Soreness. The works. You know you’re a yogi when the first thing you ask yourself in the face of sickness is, “To yoga or not to yoga?”

    Kapotasana

    Yesterday, I was too hung up on feeling sorry for myself to practice. I was turning a minor sickness into a life-debilitating ailment.

    Today, I had places to be and things to do. No longer did I have the option of whimpering in bed absorbed in some mind-numbing series on Netflix. Today, I really could not let this microscopic monster own me. Being that I’m at a yoga studio all day, it only made sense to practice. In fact, I couldn’t resist the temptation.

    So, here I am directly following a 1.5-hour crazy, sweaty Vinyasa practice. And you know what? I feel relieved.

    I’m not saying practicing during sickness is a smart move all the time. There are legit reasons why you shouldn’t practice, including difficulty breathing, build up of pressure in the sinuses and head, etc. However, don’t let yourself cop out when you don't have those legit reasons. Mindfully assess your situation. See how you feel. Maybe try it out. Post class, you could end up feeling revived. In my case, I do.

    Now, I’m pretty much a nut so a crazy, sweaty Vinyasa flow did me well. However, I would caution you to verge on the more restorative end of things, at least at the onset of your illness. Here are some therapeutic, calming flows to attempt while battling a bug.

    If you’re dealing with a cold, Ashley Turner’s Yoga to Relieve Cold Symptoms is what you want. In fact, I’m going to give this a go later this evening.

    As I'm well aware of currently, it is sometimes difficult to practice yoga at your normal pace or intensity when you have a cold. This online yoga class will help you increase the flow of oxygen through your body and get your prana moving in order to help your body heal itself. Practice a series of poses that can be held for longer if you are able. Listen to your body and take extra breaths if necessary. Finish feeling more energetic and less congested and foggy. Have a bolster (or bed pillow), blanket and eye pillow available to make yourself comfortable. (21 mins.)

    These bugs always seem to get worse as the day continues. To end your day on a high note, do Annie Carpenter’s Chill Sequence: End of Day Practice filmed at Exhale Spa's Venice location.

    This online yoga practice will help you calm your mind and body. You will run through simple prone releases and a guided deep relaxation to a blissful savasana. (24 mins.)

    To deeply relax in mind and body, do Yoga Nidra - a Psychic Sleep Relaxation Method - guided by Sri Dharma Mittra.

    Sri Dharma Mittra teaches that stress is the number one cause of injury and illness, and that we must explore methods to keep balanced and joyful in the thick of everyday life. Guided Relaxation removes tension and fatigue in the physical body, relieves depression and anxiety, relieves headaches, reduces cravings and desires, rejuvenates and energizes the entire system, bolsters the body's natural healing capacities, and normalizes the circulatory system's functioning. You will be guided into a state of deep relaxation where the breathing and the thoughts are slowed almost to the point of stopping, which can be as restorative as a full night's sleep. When done regularly and with pure intention, one can depart the body and cross over into Psychic Sleep, briefly experiencing the Astral Plane. It is through this deep practice that one can gradually come to recognize that you are so much more than the body or the mind. The benefits of this class are cumulative - the more you do it, the greater the benefit. No previous experience needed! (45 mins.)

    Lastly, if you have the strength and stamina, try Hala Khouri’s Therapeutic Flow filmed at Exhale Spa.

    This online yoga class starts with hamstring and hip releases and lower back stabilization exercises. Move into a grounding flow to create support in the lower back, which is followed by a series of shoulder openers. This therapeutic class is nurturing as well as challenging. (83 mins.)

    Even if you’re battling a bug, you can still find methods of practice. The first step is letting go of all the excuses and the feeling sorry for yourself nonsense. Getting sick sucks, but it happens. It is only temporary (as is everything). This too shall pass, yogis.

    ~Tess

  • 10 Ways to Elevate Your Home Practice

    Let's be real. Practice ruts are inevitable. But hey, don't you worry about it. Ruts are just signs that it's time to explore. Ruts are opportunities in disguise. They exist as catalysts to help us elevate and expand in yoga (and in life).

    Handstand

    If you are stuck in a rut, here are some ideas to get ya back on your yogic track:

    1. Go upside down.   Exhilarating and liberating, inversions are awesome opportunities to shift your perspective, release the thinking mind, and have some fun. What’s more, inversions are incredibly beneficial to your mental and physical bodies. Practice Shoulder Stand, Headstand or Viparita Karani once per day to restore vitality and blow away the cobwebs.
    2. Use all the resources at hand. We are so happy to be building this online yoga community. We have partnered with so many stellar, nationally recognized yoga studios and teachers to offer you an awesome mixture of free online yoga videos and full-length online yoga classes. There is something here for you regardless of your age, shape, and level. Use our class search feature to find exactly what online yoga experience you require.
    3. Reserve time for stillness.  There’s more to yoga than asana (the poses). It seems as though the physical, heat-generating element of yoga tends to draw people in more than the other forms, such as pranayama (breathing exercises) and dhyana (meditation). While there is a time and place for asana, there is also a time and place for stillness and surrender. Set aside time to meditate, even if it’s just for 5 minutes a day. Practice a few rounds of breathing exercises before or after your home practice. No need to get crazy about it to start. Just invite it in regularly.
    4. Go back to the basics. Sometimes when I’m in a practice rut, I like to revisit the basics. Even if you don't consider yourself a yoga newbie, try out some beginner yoga videos. The stronger your base, the stronger your over-all practice.
    5. Restore. Block out time for one weekly restorative practice to reset and renew.
    6. Prioritize and plan. If you can’t seem to find time to practice yoga at home, it might be that you need to ditch one or more things. Is there an activity (or activities) in your life that you could do without? Is there stress in your life that you need to release? Assess your situation. Then, devise a plan. Put your practice schedule on a calendar. Hold yourself accountable.
    7. Set up a support network. Ask friends and family to hop on the yoga train with you. Maybe create and commit to a yoga challenge with your peeps. Capture your daily practice on Instagram or Facebook to really unite the community. Make it fun!
    8. Sanctify your space. Devote a space to your practice. Spruce up the space with an alter, candles, incense, a mandala, plants, a Buddha statue, or anything else that holds meaning for you. You want your space to be simple, with few distractions, and to evoke peace.
    9. Set the timer. Be realistic and clear on how long you intend to practice. If you only have 15 or 30 minutes, you want to be sure that you make the most of it and find an online yoga class that fits your time criteria. Pick a time. Choose a class. Commit to its completion.
    10. Listen up. Some days you just won’t be feeling it. That’s okay. If fatigued, don’t overdo it. Take an online restorative or yin yoga class. Try Dharma Mittra’s Yoga Nidra class. On the flip side, if you’re experiencing a surge of energy (or a bad case of lethargy), you might want to work that out with a more intense, dynamic yoga at home experience i.e. Vinyasa or Ashtanga. Ask your mind and body what's up. Be real with yourself on what you need.

    ~Tess

     Photo Credit: Handstand via www.artofbeinghealthy.tumblr.com

  • Weekend Intention: Throw Yourself into the Fire

    natarajasana

    Here’s some delicious food for thought to mentally digest this morning:

    "If it doesn’t challenge you, it doesn’t change you." ~Fred DeVito

    "If you don't have the power to change yourself, then nothing will change around you." ~Anwar Sadat

    "If we don't change, we don't grow. If we don't grow, we are not really living. Growth demands a temporary surrender of security." ~Gail Sheehy

    "You can never change what you tolerate. As long as you accept it and accommodate it, you're going to stay right where you are." ~Joel Osteen

    ***

    I’m sure the message is clear: Challenge breeds change. No challenge = no change = no growth = boring.

    To really live, requires a surrender of security. It requires looking challenges and fears in the face. It requires stepping into unknown territory and throwing yourself into the fire. Yes, it will burn. Yes, it will feel uncomfortable and scary. But it is these fiery, fear-invoking challenges that inspire the most meaningful self-transformations. If we remain in one comfy place for too long (in the practice and in life), stagnation will ensue. We won’t evolve. We won’t be really living.

    Throwing yourself into the fire on the mat is a great gauge for how well you deal with challenges off the mat. Do you quit? Or forge ahead? Do you put up walls? Or build bridges? Do you pout? Or smile? Do you only put forth a half-assed effort? Or do you give 100%? Do you experience resistance? Or excitement? However you deal with challenge on the mat is most likely how you deal with it off the mat. Allow your practice to be your teacher in this way. Let it unveil your patterns of behavior and your reactions to challenge. And with this new level of self-awareness…maybe you will change!

    This weekend, I challenge you to test out an advanced online yoga practice. Throw yourself into the fire. See how you deal. Observe your thoughts and reactions. Do they reflect your thoughts and reactions to challenge off the mat? During your practice, try to surrender and stop thinking so much. Let the thought wheels come to a pause. Less thinking; more doing. Who knows...you might just surprise yourself! Maybe you strike a new pose. Maybe you go deeper in the pose. Maybe you hold the pose longer. Go find out!

    Exhale Slow Flow Yoga Advanced: Focus on the Side Body Stefanie Eris

    Fusing traditional Vinyasa methodology with contemporary dynamic flow, this slow flow integrates breath and movement, inner and outer alignment, strength and flexibility and a focus on opening up the side body. This online yoga practice will allow advanced students to enhance their practice with some more challenging poses. (70 mins.)

    vinyasa yoga online

    Advanced Backbending Slow Flow with Cristi Christensen

    Challenge yourself in this advanced online yoga class filmed at Exhale Spa. Start slowly with a restorative heart and hip opener, then begin to build heat with a core plank series and a standing flow including Sun Salutation variations. Progress through a series of quadricep/thigh openers to prepare for advanced backbends, including salabhasana, dhanurasana and natarajasana. Practice a standing balance sequence, including Warrior III, standing splits and kundalini's descent. End with seated hip openers with an opportunity to practice the arm balance astavakrasana. Cool down with alternate nostril breathing and savasana. Music provided by Shaman's Dream. (87 mins.)

    vinyasa yoga online

    Master Sadhana Practice with Sri Dharma Mittra

    Master Sadhana practice features elements of the Dharma III-IV Shiva Namaskara Vinyasa: a challenging, yet graceful and meditative posture series steeped in 50 years of Sri Dharma Mittra's experience of the classical tradition. One of the joys of Master Sadhana is exploring variations of Sri Dharma Mittra's advanced postures you may not encounter anywhere else in the world of today, as well as instruction in how to take the steps necessary to acquire these postures. Master Sadhana includes guided Pranayama (breathing practice) and Deep Relaxation. Sri Dharma helps each individual to quiet the turbulent mind so as to experience the peace, contentment and realization of the Divinity already present within you. This online yoga class with a master is highly recommended for regular practitioners and yoga teachers. (74 mins.)

    Advanced Online Yoga Practice

    Throw yourself into the fire, yogis.

    ~Tess

  • 3 Flows for Headache, Stress & Tension Relief

    We hold on to a lot of stress and tension in the head, neck, and shoulder regions of our bodies. Chronic tension and tightness in these areas, especially the neck region, can cause headaches. Overtime, tightness of the neck and shoulder muscles can shorten the ligaments of these muscles, restricting your range of motion (ROM). No bueno.

    Neck stretch What a pain in the neck...

    To ward off headaches and stress caused by tension and tightness of the head, neck, and shoulders and to maintain (even expand) your range of motion, it is important to regularly stretch and move.

    Get a move on and practice this new online yoga class with Gigi Yogini – a Shoulders, Neck and Head Practice to Relieve Tension. Practice the simple exercises instructed in this online yoga flow to open up and relax your shoulders, neck, and head. Experience stress relief. Combat potential headaches.

    Gigi Yogini

    Another sure way to outsmart headaches, stress and tension is to take on a detox practice. Toxins are all around you – in your food, in the air, in the water, etc. While your body is equipped with its own detox system, it can become rundown after repeated exposure to toxins and chronic stress. When shut down occurs, the toxins stay put in your body. Rather than release, they find refuge in adipose tissue (fat cells). Once they reside in your fat cells, they become a nuisance, running down your body’s natural defense system. Headaches (among other unfortunate conditions) may result.

    The solution? Practice cleansing and detoxifying flows to cleanse out all the crap, reset your body’s defense system, and ease any mental stress caused by the physical pangs. Upon the release of all this toxic waste, you will feel revitalized, vigorous, and wholesome. Ahhhh...

    To sweat out and let loose all of the toxic junk, try this detox class with Ashley Turner – an Invigorating Morning Flow. In this online yoga practice, you will wring out every corner of your body. Leave the practice feeling energized, cleansed, clear, and awake for your day ahead.

    Ashley Turner

    A final way to ease headaches, tension, and stress is through deep relaxation and calming breathing exercises. Try this amazingly rejuvenating online yoga class with yoga master, Sri Dharma Mittra: Yoga Nidra - Psychic Sleep Relaxation Method. Dharma Mittra teaches that stress is the number one cause of injury and illness, and that we must explore methods to keep balanced and joyful in the thick of everyday life. Guided Relaxation removes tension and fatigue in the physical body, relieves depression and anxiety, relieves headaches, reduces cravings and desires, rejuvenates and energizes the entire system, bolsters the body's natural healing capacities, and normalizes the circulatory system's functioning. You will be guided into a state of deep relaxation where the breathing and the thoughts are slowed almost to the point of stopping, which can be as restorative as a full night's sleep.

    Sri Dharma Mittra

    Move about. Stretch. Sweat. Chill. Breathe in, breathe out. Seems like the perfect curative cocktail for headaches, stress, and tension to me!

    ~TJ

    Photo Credit: http://classicalguitarnstuff.com

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